While you’ll usually find me highlighting great businesses, today I wanted to take some time to highlight an amazing group of people. When I was a kid, I played in different organized sports leagues, like hockey or baseball. Typically, the coaches were the dad of someone’s kid and from time to time it was the mother. Often, the parents were just doing it to volunteer and spend time with the kids, and in many cases, they didn’t know much about the sport. In general, they were simply there to organize the practices, meetups, etc. Fast forward about 40 years, and my daughter who is part sporty girl is involved with a number of sports including soccer, volleyball, and track and field. Maybe it’s just good fortune, but in many cases, the coaches and organizers are either varsity, Olympic, or professional athletes in those sports. As I’ve gotten to know these coaches over the last few years, I’ve found myself with a newfound respect for their level of commitment and the amount of time, effort, and money they put into training to get to the elite level they are at. While there are professional athletes in dozens of sports, unfortunately, there are only a small number of sports where professional athletes are able to make a living playing their sport. Too often, athletes have to supplement their passion for sport with another job to pay the bills. Over time, I’ve had the chance to learn about the way these athletes work and think. From their dedication and pursuit of perfection, getting up before the sun to train, facing long days at the office followed by long days at the sports complex, recovering from injuries and not letting injuries slow down other aspects of their lives, it's been a real eye-opener as to the enormous task athletes face on a day-to-day basis. As a general suggestion to employers, many of the skills that athletes have learned are certainly transferable to different jobs and careers. Time management, patience, discipline, and self-confidence are only a few of the many skills that most athletes possess. While athletes may not necessarily have previous experience at a particular job, given all of the other characteristics and assets they can potentially bring to the table, they should without a doubt be considered in the hiring process. Over many years of being involved with sports, from playing in sports leagues myself, to cheering on my daughter, I’ve come to the conclusion that sports can certainly make you a well-balanced and versatile person.
Mirvish Productions is a theatrical company, based in Toronto, Canada. The company was founded by David Mirvish, son of the late Ed Mirvish (owner of Honest Ed’s and the Royal Alex Theatre). Not only have the Mirvishes helped Toronto become one of the most important theatrical centres in the world behind Broadway and London, but the company is responsible for bringing Broadway shows across the border. In recent times, the company has brought Cindy Lauper’s popular, Kinky Boots to the city (currently playing at the Royal Alex Theatre).
And let me tell you, the company’s success must have something to do with their phenomenal customer service….
The story begins last year, while my wife was visiting New York City. During her trip she went to see Kinky Boots on Broadway, and after returning home she told me that it was a must see! Not too long after her trip, Mirvish Productions announced that they would be bringing Kinky Boots to Toronto, and my excited wife immediately bought tickets.
Six weeks before the date of show, my wife started to experience back pain – later diagnosed as a disc pushing on her sciatic nerve. With treatment and therapy she began the road to recovery, but with the date of the show fast approaching we were both becoming increasingly anxious about her ability to attend the theatre. For starters, our tickets were in the balcony, and there are no elevators in what is one of the oldest theatres in the city. In addition, while the theatre itself is beautiful, the seats are quite tight, and not overly comfortable, again due to the age of the building. Afraid of possibly losing our chance to see this fabulous show, I called Mirvish Productions hoping they can somehow assist me with the predicament which we were in.
Within minutes of contacting their head office, I was directed to a manager who listed to my issue, indicated that they can probably come up with a solution. Less then an hour after my initial call, another employee called me back with various solutions to my problem. The first proposed solution was that we move from a balcony seat to the main floor so we could avoid climbing the stairs. In addition, the employee offered us a seat on the aisle, to allow wife some additional room to stretch out. Alternatively, another option was to change the tickets for another date in the future, hoping that my wife’s condition improves, allowing her to enjoy the evening in more comfort.
In a day and age, when after you buy tickets (concerts, theatre, events, travel, etc.) there are typically “no refunds or exchanges” I was extremely surprised by how accommodating and responsive the company was. While I expected to be told that there was nothing that could be done, Mirvish Productions (and I believe Ticket King) truly made an effort to find a solution to my problem by providing me with not just one, but three different solutions, resulting in me being able to breathe a sigh of relief that I would enjoy my night out, once way or another.
As for the chosen option, like they say on Broadway…the show must go on, so with my wife insisting that she wanted to see the play on the original date of our tickets, I took them up on their offer of changing the seats to an aisle on the main floor. A few physio sessions, and multiple exercises later, my wife was able to sit comfortably with her legs stretched out. Without a doubt, she and I enjoyed the show much more than we would have if Mirvish Productions hadn’t been so accommodating.
As for Kinky Boots, it is an absolutely fantastic production, and one of the best musicals I have seen in a long time. It portrays a strong message of respect and dignity, while being light, fun and easy to follow along. The tunes are catchy, and trust me, they will be stuck in your head for weeks to come. I highly recommend it for either a night out with your significant other, or an enjoyable evening with friends.
Don’t worry, if you sing too hard, Mirvish Productions and their excellent customer service will have your back.
Between my hectic work life and spending time with my family, I find that I often barely have time to see friends or get out of the house for some exercise. Fortunately, I recently discovered Toronto Sport and Social Club and am now able to do both at once!
The club offers participants the opportunity to take part in multiple, co-ed sport leagues, in a range of levels from recreational to competitive. I play soccer with the club once a week and have found that it’s a great outlet to burn some energy, make some friends, and play the sport that I love. However, if soccer’s not your thing then don’t fret, they offer plenty of other sports from squash and sailing to dodgeball, lacrosse, and soft ball.
Rob, the Managing Director of the club, claims that TSSC is the NEW social network, and I tend to agree with him. Not only does the club have sport leagues, but they also host events such as city wide scavenger hunts, intro classes to different sports, and weekend tournaments. The club has given me the opportunity to make new friends, meet business associates, and even set friends up on dates.
So whether you are looking for something to do for the weekend or for the summer, put down your smartphone, lace up your cleats, and go join the new social network!
Toronto Sport and Social Club
185 Bridgeland Avenue, Unit 110
Toronto, ON M6A 1Y7